Ah, alcohol. We’ve had quite a tempestuous relationship. Sure, we’ve had some fun. Without your influence, I probably wouldn’t have mastered the ancient Japanese art of dance-karate or had the courage to perform a rap battle with a Spanish bus driver (hola, Javier). Then again, I also wouldn’t have broken and permanently damaged my ankle running down a mountain, or thrown a stiletto at a policeman because I thought he called me fat (turns out he was gently reminding me to watch the kerb).
I’m not proud to admit this, but I started drinking alcohol at a young age. I grew up in a tiny village in the countryside, and there was only so much twirling on mountaintops dressed as Austrian milk maidens that we could do before even that got a little tedious.
As angst-ridden teenagers, my friends and I got bored and apathetic pretty easily. We did all the normal teenage things- we played sports, watched TV together, played the PlayStation, and set each other ridiculous dares (sorry if I have ever prank called any of you, but I really did care whether your refrigerator was running or not, honestly).
We were also a little awkward. Teenagers have it tough; there’s societal expectations thrust upon them that seem unattainable, they have hormones flying everywhere and they struggle with seemingly unending self-esteem issues. For my friends and I, most of these problems seemed to disappear when we had alcohol. We were suddenly more confident, more sociable and more uninhibited. Looking back, we were really, really stupid. We just didn’t realise what a potentially dangerous situation we were creating. We had no idea what the alcoholic content of most drinks was so we ingested vodka and other spirits like I would now drink water. My girlfriends and I freely drank around boys we barely knew and put ourselves into very vulnerable situations. We all had our fair share of personal problems and I suppose we drank to excess to forget these, but mostly, we drank because it was fun.
Of course, I’m not condoning teenage drinking. That’s irresponsible and I have a teenage dog, so I’m all about responsibility. There are a whole load of things that can go wrong for an intoxicated teenager, and things did go wrong for us. Sometimes someone got hurt, or did something stupid, but it didn’t stop us. I regret what I now see as the premature loss of my innocence; I wish I had been closer to my family and had followed the influence of my still teetotal older brother.
My family portrait…
Things only got more wild in college. And although I was a little indulgent with the liquor at times, I don’t regret it all that much because I was a little older and wiser. I had the time of my life, I made amazing friends and I once arrived home in a trolley dressed as a mermaid. And everyone loves trollies, see?
Look at his faaaace
But I knew it had to stop at some stage. I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2009 and my brain just couldn’t keep up with the pina coladas anymore (and let’s face it, my brain is weird enough already). Since I left college, I probably drank alcohol about twice a year. The problem is, when I did drink, I went crazy. I have the most hilarious, fun-loving group of friends and when we get together, things happen. Scary things.
The last few times I have been out, there has been yodelling and a conversation with a parrot who was definitely telling me to get my life together.
His name was George, by the way…
The last time I had alcohol was about two months ago. I was out with my darling friends and we had an amazing time, in a lot of ways. But I didn’t enjoy being drunk. In fact, I haven’t enjoyed it in a long time. I felt tired and depressed. It wasn’t really giving me that ‘buzz’ anymore. I tried having a couple of Redbulls, but that just made me wake up at five a.m. convinced that I was having a heart attack. I then cleaned the entire hotel room and jogged on the spot for twenty minutes.
The next morning, I felt hungover and depressed. I had a three hundred kilometre drive ahead of me and I had a lot of time to think (and use my hand as a microphone as I sang along to the radio). I realised that I just didn’t want to drink anymore. It’s dangerous for me because of my epilepsy, and I don’t particularly enjoy it anymore. I’m also a fun-loving girl, who loves to laugh and abstinence from alcohol won’t change that. Erm, hopefully.
Really though, I’m going to be a healthier and happier person who can still go out and have fun, minus the thumping hangover. I know some of you might suggest moderation but that word doesn’t exist in the Irish lexicon. I’m only kidding; the only reason I’m saying that I can do completely without alcohol is because I actually don’t particularly like the taste of it all that much. I’ve never drank it for its taste, it was always just for its effect. I’d much prefer a cola or a lemonade…aaaand, I’ve just become Grandma.
I don’t want anyone to think I’m judging people who drink. Hey, up until a few months ago, they were considering renaming Jacob’s Creek to Jane’s Creek, which sounds vaguely sexual. Many people drink only small amounts and have a very healthy relationship with alcohol, and that’s wonderful. It’s not like I had become completely dependent on alcohol, but I didn’t like how I was associating it with being the necessary ingredient for a good time. Now, I’m just happy to spend time with my friends and family, and if Mam wants to bake me a cake, who am I to complain?
So, it’s farewell for now alcohol. I’m sure we’ll meet again in the not-too-distant-future, when I get the urge to sing karaoke or watch The Bridges of Madison County. But right now, I’m content to be the boring friend who tells everyone in the pub about the history of linen.
Hey! Remember that Cupid or Cats is a finalist in the Weblog Awards or “Bloggies” in the “Most Humour Weblog” category (go on, do the finger quotes, you know you want to). Voting closes on Sunday so it would be amazing if you could follow the link below and vote for me, it’s easy, I promise :) To those of you who have already voted, thank you so much. It means a lot. And if you vote now, let me know so I can heap praise on you and worship you as a demigod.
You can vote here:
*alcohol, obviously. Otherwise I’d be dead.